We now have a bill in the Vermont legislature that explicitly recognizes healthcare as a human right. The Senate Health and Welfare Committee today released this 'strike-all" version of S.88 (meaning that the entiretly of the text in S.88 as introduced has been striken and replaced by what appears below). As legislative council and Chair Doug Racine explained, this bill authorizes a commission to design 3 single-payer health care systems for the Vermont legislature to use in building a new health care system next legislative session.
Just as Town Meeting Week is wrapping up, we got word that the Senate Health Committee may bring forward the bill which currently stands the best chance to make healthcare a public good next Tuesday. Politicians will only lead as far as we push them, though, so to make sure that they do this, we need to continue to add to the thousands of voices who have demanded that we make real change happen.
Please tell everyone you know to go to www.workerscenter.org/takeaction and send an email to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee ASAP.
Summary of House Health and Welfare Committee Hearings, Wednesday, February 17th:
On February 16, the Senate Health & Welfare Committee presented the following outline of proposed or potential pieces of a reform bill this year. Notably, when someone asked about universal coverage, noting the outline seems not to address this major point, the committee replied that the issue of universal coverage was being dealt with in the House Healthcare Committee. Its not clear how meaningful reform will be made without uniting these issues.
The Health Care is a Human Right campaign gained a huge victory today: Doug Racine, the Chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, announced that he has asked for a bill to be drafted that would 'radically' change the way we fund and pay for health care in Vermont, in a way that will probably look like single payer and would be an acceleration of the time line laid out in S.88. This bill would be a committee bill that the committee would work on getting ready for passage this year.
Here is a report from Mari Cordes, RN who lives in Lincoln, VT and is a leader of the nurses union at Fletcher Allen Health Care and Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign (HCHR). She spoke via phone from Jimani at a Statehouse press conference we held on January 29. She had recently facilitated a HCHR Forum in Vergennes and one week before she departed for Haiti she testified at the Statehouse calling for Vermont to lead the way in providing healthcare for all.
Below are some direct comments from our People's Team members:
"The meetings are dominated by Administration staff and paid lobbyists. There is little or no time reserved for real testimony from real people and people who can lead the way for systemic change.
That is why our campaign is so important. We must step up our efforts to connect with our legislators. The legislators will not get the political will or realize it is politically possible unless they hear from us!"
The People's Team continued to monitor the Health Committees. The meetings are dominated by Administration staff and paid lobbyists. There is little or no time reserved for real testimony from real people and people who can lead the way for systemic change.
That is why our campaign is so important. We must step up our efforts to connect with our legislators. The legislators will not get the political will or realize it is politically possible unless they hear from us.
by Jennifer Henry, RN:
The update below is brought to you by Brian Cunningham, EMT from the Emergency Department. He is a member of TEAM 1.
Our colleagues continue to save lives, support each other and make a lasting impact on the recovery of a nation and its people. They are our heroes and they have our respect and admiration. Please send along your thoughts, and I will share them with our teams.
Report from Mari Cordes, RN from the amazing first group of Fletcher Allen union nurses and providers who are in now Haiti. We are proud that Mari is also a major leader in the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign:
Jan 22, 2010